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Boat Building - Making Kayaks, Canoes, and Small Boats


Building kayaks and other small boats is a gratifying project. You start out with a pile of boards or a few sheets of plywood and in a short amount of time you have a vessel  that will take you places. Wooden boat building is one of the few projects the average person working in their basement or garage, can make their own mode of transportation. The tools required to build a kayak or canoe are minimal. Some simple hand tools and small power tools are usually enough

There are many ways to build a boat, but on this site we deal primarily with "strip-built", "stitch and glue" and "skin on frame". These methods are well suited for beginner boat builders without a lot of training or specialized skills.

Strip Built

aka: Cedar Strip, Wood Strip, Strip Planked

Take a bundle of thin cedar strips, bend them around a form and edge glue the wood strips together. Reinforce the wood inside and out with fiberglass and epoxy. Many people may be familiar with this method from seeing strip planked canoes, but it is well suited to building kayaks and making row boats.

Stitch and Glue

aka: Tack and Tape

Cut out plywood to a predefined shape, temporarily wire the panels together (the stitches) and then glue them. Cover it all inside and out with fiberglass. This is a fast and simple way to make complex boats.

Hybrid Boats

A combination of strip-built and stitch and glue, typically with a strip deck and S&G hull. Have the beauty of wood strip and the assembly speed of stitch and glue.

Skin on Frame

Make a frame of wood and cover it with a skin of fabric. This is the method used by the Inuits of Greenland to make kayaks. It makes a lightweight boat.